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    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Opening Day Issue

A team to remember

101 wins was great - just not great enough in 1961

Photo: Photo courtesy the Detroit Tigers, License: N/A

Photo courtesy the Detroit Tigers

By early May, the team was in first place.

2011 Opening Day Issue

Fifty years later, the Detroit Tigers of 1961 — men now in their 70s and 80s — have not forgotten the season that slipped away.

It might have been an immortal year. After all, the team won as many regular-season games — 101 — as any Detroit team to that point. But, instead, it has been relegated to the footnotes of history, overshadowed by pinstriped legends.

The Yankees dominated sports headlines that summer. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle captivated the nation while pursuing Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. New York won 109 games, a figure topped only once in the previous three decades, and captured a tenth pennant in 12 years.

"I always hated them," said Dick McAuliffe, who was then a 21-year-old backup shortstop. "I always thought they had a lot of luck and got a lot of great calls from the umpires."

Based on opening day, it was difficult to imagine the Tigers were in for a special season. They lost 9-5 to the Cleveland Indians, and pitching ace Jim Bunning, who would win 17 games, lasted less than two innings and gave up six runs.

But the pieces were in place. Al Kaline, a star at 26, anchored the lineup, along with Rocky Colavito, who had come over from Cleveland the previous spring. Norm Cash, the hard-drinking Texan, had been with the club only one year and given no indication of the kind of career performance he would deliver.

The starting lineup also included four players (catcher Dick Brown, rookie Jake Wood, Steve Boros and veteran Bill Bruton) who hadn't been with the team in 1960, when the Tigers finished sixth out of eight teams, and one additional player, shortstop Chico Fernandez, who had.

The manager, Bob Scheffing, was new as well, and John Fetzer had just become majority owner. Even the ballpark, a fixture at Michigan and Trumbull since 1912, could not escape change. Fetzer had dropped the Briggs Stadium name in favor of Tiger Stadium.

Whatever the name, the old place remained popular with players.

"It was one of the best ballparks in baseball," said pitcher Don Mossi, who would win 15 games. "In most ballparks, (fans) sit way back from the field, but in Detroit (fans) were right by the field."

Although a number of players donned the Old English D for the first time that season, they weren't unfamiliar to one another.

Several, including Tigers second baseman Wood, spent time together in the minor leagues, forming bonds that would be strengthened in the majors.

In 1960, the Tigers Triple-A affiliate, the Denver Bears, had finished first in the American Association. Wood said it helped that Bears teammate Steve Boros, the Tigers' starting third baseman, was on the field with him for his major league debut.

"There was a core of familiarity that I had, so it wasn't like I was going into a situation where I totally didn't know anyone," he said. "I had a comfort zone, so it wasn't bad."

Still, Wood said his passions were high. "You appreciate veterans on the team who can calm you down because your emotions run the gamut," he said. "They're up one day and down the next."

The mix of youth and experience helped the Tigers shake off their opening day loss and win eight straight games. They found themselves in first place at 17-5 in early May and would remain there for most of June and into July.

"The personalities on the team are what brought us together," Mossi said. "We had some real clowns. We gelled together because we were good friends and had good players."

For Wood, an African-American on a team that had integrated only three years earlier, the friendships meant a lot.

"We had a bunch of guys that came from Southern states, so I don't know what type of contact they had with African-Americans, but they were all right with me," he said. "They helped create a type of environment that was more sociable than aggressive. Those guys treated me like a person."

That didn't stop them from hazing the rookie, though. His first time in spring training, Wood noticed a small box inside a cage next to his locker. Norm Cash told him a mongoose was inside. Curious, Wood approached the box.

"He said to knock on the cage and it would come out," Wood said. "But when I knocked on the cage a big ol' piece of fur jumped out and hit me on the side of the head! You should have seen me running."

It was a year in which rubber snakes in equipment bags and hot-foot pranks in the dugout were common. The jokes "kept things lively," Wood said.

McAuliffe, who was called up from Denver in June 1961, remembers the humor of Paul Foytack, a veteran pitcher. Foytack loved playing gin rummy so much on plane rides that'd he'd refuse to stop even after the plane landed, McAuliffe said. "He'd have one of our teammates hold the cards as they were all still walking and playing," he said.

McAuliffe said the team was always upbeat. "I think the guys were good for one another," he said. "One guy never downgraded anyone on the team. They always rooted for you and they always cheered."

For Wood, the Tigers' quick start had much to do with chemistry. "Any team that's successful has to create the right type of environment and atmosphere to make people feel comfortable," he said. "That's how you succeed."

As the season matured, it became clear the Tigers were superb.

Cash was on pace to win the American League batting title with a .361 average, Colavito was on his way to driving in 140 runs, one short of the league title, and pitcher Frank Lary was having the best year of his career en route to 23 wins.

But it was Kaline, already in the eighth year of a Hall of Fame career, who provided the foundation. He would lead the league in doubles and finish second in the league in batting.

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